'Art cannot tame Shane for the same sorts of reasons that no one has ever tamed a Tasmanian devil. It can’t be done. Whichever way you twist him, he will never be anything other than a wild Irish drinking rebel with the alcohol-rich waters of Rain Street running through his pin-cushioned veins.
When a creature like Shane turns to art, art gulps for air and begins to sweat. ‘What will he do to me?’, it frets.
What you’ll find in this crazy banquet of wild, scabrous, sex-mad and demented art is vivid proof that Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan will never turn into someone else. He hasn’t gone nice on us. He doesn’t want to be deep. He’s not trying to be respectable. A feral dog has barked his way onto the sacred ground of art and is taking a piss against a tomb stone.
Victoria tells me he is always drawing. On planes. In hotels. In bed. Under the bed. Draw, draw, draw. Scratch, scratch, scratch. Over and over and over. Art pours out of Shane all the time in quick and liquid bursts of images and words. It’s a compulsion.
And so, granny dearest – and you might wish to write this down – we are not talking Monet here! Or Michelangelo! Or Botti Bloody Celli. We are talking Shane Fucking Patrick Lysaght MacGowan!
That’s right. Lysaght!
Has he ever given these visual addictions a serious thought? Or spent a moment considering the impact of the sfumato on the chiaroscuro? I doubt it. Compulsive imaginations don’t work that way Somewhere deep inside him there’s a tap with ‘art’ written on it and whenever he feels like it he opens it up and out pours a torrent of mercuric, violent, rude, sexy, blasphemous, bollock-naked and - would you believe it? - occasionally tender imagery. It’s the spit, snot and tears of art. Splattering onto the page in a psychic storm of lines and words. Compelling picture vomit. From the Jackson Pollock of the Biro.'
Waldemar Januszczak is Britain’s most distinguished art critic. Formerly the art critic of The Guardian, he now writes for The Sunday Times, and has twice won the Critic of the Year award. Renowned for his feisty opinions, Waldemar is also a film maker of television arts documentaries.